She was born in Cloona House in Dunmurry, County Antrim, Ireland into a well-to-do family. She was educated privately, at Victoria College, Belfast, in Caen, France, then Bedford College, London and Queen's College, Belfast and never graduated, though it was later claimed she had been a lecturer in Classics at Bedford Women's College. Her family were members of the Church of Ireland, but she converted to Catholicism after leaving home.
She worked for various shipping companies and then as a freelance journalist in Dublin. After contacting Richard J. Mecredy, the proprietor of the Dublin-based Irish Cyclist, in 1891 expressing her interest in cycling and journalism, she became a contributor to the magazine. Two years later she became sub-editor, and then took over the magazine's sister publication, the Social Review, which she edited until 1903. But she had long harboured a desire to see the Pacific, and in 1904 she was engaged by the (London) Daily Graphic to report on the Pacific islands, reportedly sailing around the Pacific islands in her own cutter. She was commissioned to write publicity for Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, and Tonga. In 1907 she sailed to Papua on a commission from The Times and the Sydney Morning Herald, but remained for twenty-seven years, much of the time at Rona Falls. She became a close friend of Sir Hubert Murray and his unofficial publicist. She joined exploration parties and managed plantations, including one with her brother Ramsay.
She wrote some 46 books, all out of print, including:
- Broken Away (1897)
- Vaiti of the Islands (1907) a novel
- From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands (1907)
- In the Strange South Seas (1908)
- The New New Guinea (1910)
- When the Red Gods Call (1911) her best known novel
- The Sorcerer's Stone (1914) (ASIN: B009NNHHTM)
- Coral Queen (1919)
- White Savage Simon (1919)
- Queen Vaiti New South Wales Bookstall Co. Ltd., 1920
- The Little Red Speck (short stories) Hurst and Blackett, Ltd., Melbourne, 1922
- The Sands of Oro
- Conn of the Coral Seas Hurst and Blackett, Ltd., Melbourne, 1922
- The Candles of Katara (1925 short stories)
- Isles of Adventure (1930) about her own travels
- The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature (2nd ed.) Oxford University Press, Melbourne 1994
- Laracy, Hugh, 'Grimshaw, Beatrice Ethel (1870–1953)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/grimshaw-beatrice-ethel-6494/text11135, accessed 28 April 2012.
- "Beatrice Grimshaw". The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939). Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia. 22 October 1921. p. 3. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- Grimshaw, Beatrice (1930). Isles of Adventure. London: Herbert Jenkins.
- "Miss Beatrice Grimshaw". Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 - 1954). Qld.: National Library of Australia. 25 June 1925. p. 4. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- Beatrice Grimshaw at Internet Movie Database
- "Beatrice Grimshaw". The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939). Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia. 4 March 1922. p. 3. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- "Beatrice Grimshaw". The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939). Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia. 29 July 1922. p. 3. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- "Beatrice Grimshaw". The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939). Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia. 18 July 1925. p. 3. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
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